Winter can be the worst time of the year for those suffering with joint pain. Cold weather can often make joint issues like osteoarthritis feel more intense and bothersome, though there’s no medical consensus on why this should be.
Regardless, if you’re well used to the extra difficulties of cold and damp weather, we’ve got some tips on how to keep moving and minimise those winter joint problems.
Whatever your normal activity level, try to keep it up even as the weather gets cold and unforgiving. It can be easy to wind down our physical activity in the winter, but it’s important to keep your joints from becoming stiff. If a winter walk doesn’t sound appealing at all, head for a gym or heated swimming pool, or even an indoor shopping centre where you can have a good walk around without getting cold.
You’re probably well used to wrapping up warm in the winter, but take extra care to make sure your joints are protected from frosty conditions. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s a particularly cold day, make sure you’ve got some gloves with your or extra warm socks stashed in the car should you find yourself getting cold while you’re away from home.
It’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet at any time, but in winter especially it can help when it comes to fighting colds and keeping your joints working as well as they can. Getting the right nutrients from a wide range of foods is vital, especially things like oils and unsaturated fats for keeping joints in motion. Although remember to avoid over indulging during the festive period as extra weight can put pressure on joints and muscles.
Staying hydrated is eternally good advice, but it often gets neglected in winter. Naturally we reach for a cold glass of water more often in summer, but harsh winter weather and flu season makes it even more important. If a glass of water doesn’t sound appealing, a hot cup of tea or a bowl of soup also counts. Or just some hot water with lemon and honey.
Just as you should wrap up when you go outside, make sure you’re staying warm and cosy indoors too. Keep doors closed to keep the heat in, and close curtains as soon as the light goes to minimise heat loss through the glass. Having a blanket or some cosy slippers handy can also help if you’re sitting still for longer periods, such as watching TV or working at a desk, when you’re naturally going to feel colder from the lack of activity.